GAINESVILLE, Va.—The year’s third major championship has come and passed. Now we’re back to the regular old PGA Tour and Tiger’s week. Tiger Woods is the host for the Quicken Loans National.
So naturally, Tiger is on a lot of our minds. So says the Van Cynical Mailbag:
Van Cynical, I hope 2016 will be Tiger’s year on and off the course. Maybe 2015 is a practice year to get his head straight.—Dom Carthy via Twitter
Good news, Dom. The Optimists Club has named you Vice President.
Hey, Van Cyclical, Crystal ball: What world ranking will Tiger have this time next year?—PaulRWilkinson via Twitter
Wow, you’re playing hardball Wilkebeast. I’ll put him at 88. He starts making some cuts, snags a few top-20 finishes and inches back into the global picture ever so slightly. Based on ability, in what world is Tiger Woods not one of the 100 best players in the world? I see a mild upswing, a high in the upper 80s and maybe a chance of scattered showers.
Vans, Since it’s his tournament, can Tiger take Jack’s advice and tee it forward?—Kevin Montminy via Twitter
Well, Monty, I won’t tell and you won’t tell. But those other Tour players are a bunch of blabbermouths. So, I’m afraid not.
Van Cyclamate, Your article at GOLF.com on Tiger was gold. Has this year made him more insightful or is he just more open to answering broader questions?—David Troyan via Twitter
A more mellow Tiger has been brewing for the last few years, Troyan Horse. I think growing into fatherhood helped him mature into the person he wanted to be. He has certainly been freer, pleasant and more cooperative with the media—well, most of the time. A big improvement.
Van Cynical, If Tiger wins this week, do you favor him to win at Firestone next week?—LannyHGolf via Twitter
If Tiger wins this week? This week? What, if The Rock lands on the moon tomorrow, is he Time’s Man of the Year? If Green Bay lands the Olympics, will the Packers play their games in Wausau or Waupaca that season? If Tiger wins this week, he’s the golf story of the year and ol’ Whatshisname’s Grand Slam chase was a puny little diversion. A Tiger win would certainly shock the world. I am not placing a wager on it, however.
Deep Sicks, Tiger’s results have been bad. Why not return to Harmon or Haney?—Dodger167 via Twitter
Just beamed onto this planet, did you, Dodgeball? Those bridges weren’t just burned, they were crushed into bits, dumped into the space-time continuum and launched into the sun. In a nutshell, pride and/or ego. That old saying, Never say never, does not apply here.
Van the Man Cynical, Other than the Open and Masters (which you play almost forever) at what point will Tiger be non-exempt? Can't be too far?—Eric Houser via Twitter
PGA champions are exempt for life, also, Dr. House. Good question but Tiger will never be non-exempt. He’s still got a top 50 career money and a top 25 career money exemption he can cash in, plus he falls into the category of a Life Member, anyone who’s been active for at least 15 years and has 20 or more wins (Tom Watson, Vijay Singh and Davis Love). And, even if Tiger was somehow not exempt, you think he might be able to get a sponsor’s exemption any week he wanted one? I like his chances.
E-Vancipated, Why are there only five players in the world’s top 50 in the Quicken Loans National field?—Steve Elling via Twitter
I’d say it’s the bad memories of the over-the-top Robert Trent Jones Golf Club greens from Presidents Cups past, YellingElling. They make Chambers Bay greens look tame. Either that, or players were drawn away by some of this week’s festive holidays, including Bagpipe Appreciation Day, National Barbie-in-a-Blender Day, Walk On Stilts Day, World Hepatitis Day and National Hamburger Day. I mean, Tour players really like hamburgers. And Barbies in blenders.
Cynical Czar, Why not improve the Presidents Cup, go with 14-person teams of seven men, seven women. You could even play a few mixed team matches. It would get lots of attention.—Brian Rosenwald via Twitter
It’s not an awful idea, Rosebud, but it sounds like an entirely new event (or the old J.C. Penney Mixed-Team Championship), not the next Presidents Cup. You could tweak the PC now by cutting it down to 10-man teams, thus lessening the importance of depth. Of course, the real answer, as I’ve written many times, is to make the PC the off-year qualifier for the Ryder Cup. The defending Ryder Cup champion takes on the PC winner. That way, the Ryder Cup goes global; if the U.S. players win the Ryder Cup, they get a year off from competing in the PC; and the PC moves up from public indifference to do-or-die because a loss means no Ryder Cup appearance for another two years.
Van Cynical, Jimmy Walker reminds me of Bruce Lietzke. His best golf is done by the U.S. Open.—David Troyan via Twitter
A clever observation but only skin deep. Walker finished seventh in last year’s PGA and ninth in the Deutsche Bank Championship last year. But you are right, his summers are quieter than his other seasons… so far.
Van Sickly, Awesome that you gave a shout out to Currie Park! Remind me to tell you about the time I shot 52 on the back nine in three hours when I was 13.—Nick Rolland via Twitter
We aren’t going shot-by-shot, are we Rollerball? And did you mean Currie Park in Milwaukee or Currie Park in Midland, Mich., two of my former hometowns? I’ve played Currie Park in duplicate! Either way… that was a helluva 52, buddy.
Vans, Nice Rackham mention on Tour Confidential. A great track to play in Detroit area. Easy to meet friends from other areas.—Manager Lou Brown via Twitter
Rackham was a fun track when I played it a decade ago. If you’re not playing it dozens of times a year, you’re nothing but a lollygagger, Lou.
Van Cynical, I assume you’re not a golf god but if you were, how would you react to Jordan Spieth drinking from the Clareg Jug on the plane after Zach Johnson’s win?—Brian Bailey via Twitter
Zeus wanted to strike you down for your impertinence, Bailbondsman, but I talked him out of it. Never make assumptions, puny mortal. Nah, we’re all down with drinking to celebrate big wins. Victory here on Mount Olympus (or is this Valhalla, I can never remember?) tastes like good Greg Norman wine. Or maybe Mello Yello. Winning is a time to be with friends and with the conquered and, also, to get hammered. Chug on, Jordan!
Vans, Should Jordan Spieth have chipped on the eighth green at St. Andrews from 100 feet away instead of putting—Tim Coats via Twitter
The first time I played the Old Course back in the merry old ‘80s, I had to play sideways out of a deep greenside bunker and ended up with a 120-foot putt on a giant double green. I don’t remember which hole it was but I punch-chipped a 5-iron to six feet. It’s always easy to second-guess after a four-putt. I’d have gone with the chipper but I didn’t mind Spieth’s play. He just shouldn’t have knocked it 20 feet off the green. What about Spieth’s execution? As football coach John McKay once said, “I’m in favor of it.”
Sick Sicko Sickle, Who is thinking “almost” the most after the Open? Adam Scott’s one-foot miss, Jason Day 13 straight pars, Spieth’s double on eight or GVS at home, not at St. Andrews?—Klaugh56 via Twitter
Since I was incapacitated, 56 Flavors, it’s gotta be Adam Scott. He had a chance to win the Open and missed a tiddler, as the Brits like to say. Worse, he’s only got one more major championship in which he can anchor his long putter. So that missed opportunity might prove haunting for a long, long time. Unless it doesn’t.